Finger painting is fun, messy, and inexpensive (if you make your own finger paints). Instead of spending nearly $7 on some pre-made fingerpaints, my daughter & I decided to test out four no-cook, instant finger paint recipes and give you our best recommendation.
We tried out four different mediums: baby wash, liquid starch, corn syrup and shaving cream. To give each color we tried the same color of food coloring and tempera paint in each medium. We were not very precise with how much coloring or paint we used, just a couple of drops or a squirt seemed to do the trick. Then just take a spoon and mix it up.
I like to use those plastic containers leftover from single serve applesauce or fruit cups. They can’t be recycled in our area, so would just end up in the trash unless we come up with other uses for them. Also, notice I used a muffin tin, which is a fun way to present your fingerpaints to your kids.
Most of these items are already in your pantry, bathroom or laundry cabinet. If they are not, you can purchase them inexpensively. I have seen both baby wash and shaving cream at the dollar store, while the liquid starch and corn syrup will cost you a couple of dollars at the grocery store. I bought the 4-pack of food coloring at the Dollar Tree and the tempera paint was bought a Michael’s Craft Store (they have the best regular price on it and when you can combine it with a coupon it’s an even better deal.)
After mixing it all up, it was time to let the kids become creative so we could come up with our recommendation on the best homemade, instant fingerpaint.
Let the kids have fun with the fingerpaints! I gave mine some foam brushes, paint brushes, old toothbrushes and their fingers, of course. But you can come up with other things to let them paint with like feathers, leaves, string, q-tips, matchbox cars and much more.
After painting my 5-year old thought that the paints made with the baby wash and corn syrup worked the best. She thought the liquid starch was too thin and the shaving cream was too foamy for her paintings (although, both kids love the shaving cream paints for in the bath tub!)
My verdict is that they are all easy to clean-up if you do it right away, but the corn syrup paint was definitly stickier to clean. And when I cleaned up the brushes and containers, the baby wash paint and shaving cream paint cleaned up the fastest and easiest. Also, all of it washed out nicely from the smocks and clean-up rags.
My inclination would be to gravitate towards the baby wash fingerpaints and shaving cream paints because of the ease of cleanup and versatility of using it as bath tub paints. It is much easier to clean baby wash paint out of my son’s hair than corn syrup paint!
The pre-made paints contain four 4-oz. tubes of paint for $7, whereas you can buy 16oz. bottle of baby wash for $1 (& food coloring for $1 if you don’t already have any) and save yourself $5-6. We did not notice a difference in the color of the paints between the food coloring and tempera. So, save yourself money and just use the food coloring.
I was disappointed in the consistency in the liquid starch paint, so I thought I would try a cooked cornstarch finger paint recipe. This does make a wonderful fingerpaint in terms of consistency and clean-up and is even cheaper to make, but you need to have the time to cook it and cool it.
If you are looking for some other fun art & play supplies to make at home, please check out some of the other items we have made: